No matter how you put it, divorce is a difficult situation for families, especially those with children. Guiding them through the process and helping them heal can often be a challenge that most parents aren’t ready to face.
Fortunately, there are a number of options for counseling for both parents and children of divorce, as well as family counselors and child development specialists. However, dealing with divorce needs to happen at home, too. So for those parents looking to help their children through this stressful process, here are five rules to follow.
Make Your Love Clear
One of the most important things you can do as a parent going through divorce is to make sure your child knows they are always loved. More than one million children are involved in divorce cases annually, and often believe that they are somehow to blame for the situation. Even though these thoughts seem irrational to adults, it’s a natural response from children. It’s for this reason that it’s extremely important to remind your child how much you love them, no matter what.
Don’t Sugarcoat It
Sugarcoating the situation often only serves to make matters worse. Making excuses for another parent can prevent a child from expressing their feelings, and it’s important to tell them the truth and make their voice heard.
Multiple couples counseling exercises involve practicing communication, and the same should be done with your child. Encouraging her or him to communicate, then communicating back, can foster a more positive home and family life, especially in difficult situations.
Get Others Involved
While it’s smart to practice family counseling techniques and attend counseling for parents, it’s also important to involve trusting, non-biased adults in your child’s life. This support system can go a long way when trudging through a long divorce process.
Don’t Fight In Front of Your Kids
Heated conversations about any topic should take place over the phone when your child isn’t around. Witnessing those fights can be especially damaging for children, and often result in poor adjustment later in life.
In the United States, there is one divorce approximately every 36 seconds, and nearly 50% of all first marriages will end with divorce papers. But the most important thing to remember in that situation is that your children are just as much a part of the divorce as you are, and they need help to heal and adjust to the new normal.